British Amazons

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Highlighting Historical Romance with Maria Grace on archery and the British Amazons

As the Georgian period drew to a close, an increasing fascination with the medieval past led to a revival of the English archery tradition. (Sounds nothing like what we do today, does it? SCA friends, I’m looking at you!) While most sporting activities effectively barred women from participation—exertion, sweating, running and all the odd postures that might be necessary were decidedly unladylike— archery was not only considered an acceptable pastime, but an activity where women could show off their grace and ‘feminine form’ without risk of being considered vulgar. (Vulgarity was considered the kiss of death in polite society.)

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Archery, complete with the romantic associations of Cupid’s bow and arrows, offered men and women an opportunity to meet, view and enjoy their social equals.

Archery organizations sprang up throughout England.  Initially, the societies were male-only clubs.  One thing led to another and soon many had female members. In 1787, the Royal British Bowmen became the first archery society to allow women as full members. Interestingly, the Royal Bowmen had a reputation for being one of the most serious archery clubs of the period. They saw archery was a sport to be mastered, not an excuse to party.

 “Female archers in Lewisham even organized a club of their own in 1788, called The British Amazons, the name referring to the mythic female archer-warriors of antiquity, mentio­ned by Homer in ancient Greece. A news-cutting from 1789 refers to:

The elegant and beauteous assemblage of Ladies Archers established last Summer at Blackheath under the name BRITISH AMAZONS, on Saturday last gave a splendid sup­per and Ball to a Society of Gentlemen who practice the science in the vicinity.

Not much is known about The British Amazons as they have no preserved records or regulations. The society seems have been connected to The Kentish Bowmen. (Arnstad, 2019)


Arnstad, Henrik. The Amazon Archers of England: Longbows, Gender and English Nationalism 1780–1845. Master’s thesis, Stockholm University, 2019. Accessed May 10, 2019.

Johnes, Martin. Archery, Romance and Elite Culture in England and Wales, c .1780–1840. St Martin’s College, Lancaster. 2004. The Hstorical Associatioin and Blackwell Publishing Ltd.  Accessed May 10, 2019.

About the Book: Fine Eyes and Pert Opinions

Darcy is at his wits end.

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As guardian to his younger sister, he wants her to become a properly accomplished woman–she is coming out soon, after all. But Georgiana steadfastly refuses despite the encouragement of Elizabeth Bennet, long time Darcy family friend.  Darcy invites a few guests to Pemberley in the hopes of encouraging Georgiana’s improvement with a taste of society.

Unexpected additions to the party prove dangerously distracting, leaving the Darcy family on the brink of disaster. Elizabeth holds the key to their restoration, but she has fled Pemberley, unable to tolerate another day in the Darcys’ company.

Will Darcy relinquish his pride and prejudice to seek out a woman below his notice before his family is irreparably ruined?

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About the Author

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Five-time BRAG Medallion Honoree, Maria Grace has her PhD in Educational Psychology and is a 16-year veteran of the university classroom where she taught courses in human growth and development, learning, test development and counseling. None of which have anything to do with her undergraduate studies in economics/sociology/managerial studies/behavior sciences. She pretends to be a mild-mannered writer/cat-lady, but most of her vacations require helmets and waivers or historical costumes, usually not at the same time.

She writes gas lamp fantasy, historical romance, and non-fiction to help justify her research addiction. Her books are available at all major online booksellers.  

She can be contacted at:



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Caroline Warfield, Author

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